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Facebook co-founder 'unfriends' USA

Making headlines last week, the 30-year-old Brazilian-born billionaire and co-founder of Facebook Eduardo Saverin gave up his U.S. citizenship. The move came just ahead of Facebook’s initial public offering that places the value of the social network at up to $96 billion. The renunciation of Severin’s U.S. citizenship will reduce his tax liabilities.

According to a Bloomberg report, Severin, who is a resident of Singapore, helped Mark Zuckerberg start Facebook “in a Harvard University dorm and stands to reap billions of dollars after the world’s largest social network holds its IPO.”

Facebook’s IPO is reported to be already oversubscribed. Investors say the demand for shares far exceeds what Facebook has available. The company wants to raise some $10.6 billion by selling more than 337 million shares at $28 to $35 apiece.

“Eduardo recently found it more practical to become a resident of Singapore since he plans to live there for an indefinite period of time,” said Severin’s spokesman Tom Goodman.

Severin’s name is on a a list of people who chose to renounce citizenship as of April 30, published by the Internal Revenue Service. He renounced his U.S. citizenship “around September” of last year, according to his spokesman.

Government, Google can go dark, leave you in the dark

In the presumed interests of national security, Google and the National Security Agency do not have to reveal any arrangement to guard against cyber attacks.

An appeals court ruled last week that the top secret NSA doesn’t have to confirm or deny any relationship it might have with Google, despite the non-profit Electronic Privacy Information Center interest group’s claim that we, the people, have a right to know about any spying on U.S. citizens.

In the appeals opinion, Judge Janice Rogers wrote, “Any information pertaining to the relationship between Google and NSA would reveal protected information about NSA’s implementation of its information assurance mission.”

Google search rankings protected

On a related topic, a legal analyst says Google and other search engines can sort or censor search rankings according to their preferences. UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, commissioned by Google to assess the matter, says the search engines are protected under the First Amendment and are no different from traditional news media outlets in that regard.

“[S]earch engines select and sort the results in a way that is aimed at giving users what the search engine companies see as the most helpful and useful information,” Volokh writes. “In this respect, each search engine’s editorial judgment is much like many other familiar editorial judgments.”

The report is titled “First Amendment Protection for Search Engine Results” and can be read here.

Google maps to offer deals

If you’re using an Android device, you’ll soon be getting offers for daily deals, coupons and rewards when using Google maps to search for local businesses. It’s part of Google Offers, Google’s expansion into Groupon-like offers, according to Eric Rosenblum, Google’s director of product management for Google Offers.

Last week Google began integrating deals for restaurants, spas and other services with Google Maps 6.7. Google has also added indoor airport and mall walking directions for users in the U.S. and Japan.

Police chief’s Facebook post ires city manager

A California city manager has placed his police chief on paid administrative leave for Facebooking a notice of an upcoming press conference to tell the media about police departmental problems.

Apparently that didn’t sit too well with Isleton’s city manager, who admitted he did not renew three of the state’s expired required certifications the officers must pass, despite knowing about it three weeks ago and then shut down the department because of the lapsed certifications.

The Isleton city manager said he had received complaints from citizens about the Facebook posting, but was the one who further publicized it by handing out copies of the police chief’s Facebook page to the media.

Freedom Torch

Check out “Freedom Torch.” Touted as a conservative version of Facebook, there’s “no deleting, no spying, and no LIBS! Just a great bunch of patriots with news and views and a great sense of humor!” The site has 17,000 “conservative friends” to date.

Hackers ground frequent flyers

Cyber crooks have found another reason to steal your identity – your frequent flyer miles.

How? Emails with a trip confirmation or special offers asking for your frequent flyer info. Also, keep your boarding passes close to your vest. There’s enough info on them for crooks to hack into a system and wreak havoc with your miles. Take them home with you and dispose of them there.

Walk softly, carry no text

We’ve all read the stories about people so busy texting on their mobile devices they’ve walked into cars, fallen into water fountains and met with other mishaps, all because they weren’t paying attention to where they were going.

According to a televised news report, pedestrians are the new threat to street safety because of phone calls, texting, music and wandering into traffic. So this New Jersey town is cracking down on the practice.

A New Jersey police chief has decided enough is enough. After 23 pedestrian accidents – including three fatalities – have occurred since January, careless pedestrians are being ticketed on the spot. Better watch where you’re going!

More child sex abuse displayed on Internet

On these pages last week, Chelsea Schilling’s shocking expose about kid porn uncovered extensive illicit activity taking place on Facebook. Schilling’s four part exclusive included graphic details of sexual abuse of children as it has appeared in numerous locations on Facebook. Schilling appeared on my radio program last week to discuss her findings.

This week, news of more child predatory activity surfaced when a 33-year-old New Jersey woman admitted she sexually assaulted a five-year-old girl she was babysitting and then uploaded a video of the assault to the Internet. On another occasion, she streamed the assault live over a video chat service. And on a third occasion, she recorded the abuse on a camera phone and emailed the video to at least one other person. The woman now faces up to 30 years in prison for two counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

Traveling abroad?

Before you travel abroad, be sure to read this item about hackers who are entering your computer during hotel log-on. The FBI is warning travelers that hackers are “targeting travelers abroad through pop-up windows while establishing an Internet connection in their hotel rooms.” The warning comes from the agency’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.